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Kara Winkler

Dr. Kara Winkler

Kara Winkler

Assistant Professor of Communication Studies

Office: S1054
713-221-8168
winklerk@uhd.edu

​​​​​​​​Dr. Kara Winkler is an Assistant Professor in Communication Studies in the Department of Arts and Communication. She earned her Ph.D. in Interpersonal Communication at the University of Connecticut and received her M.A. and B.A. in Communication Studies from California State University, Sacramento. Dr. Winkler has taught a variety of undergraduate courses on interpersonal communication, gender and communication, intercultural communication, research methods, small group communication, advertising, and public speaking. Her research focuses on sexual communication, specifically on the cognitive, emotional, and communicative processes and outcomes of sharing sexual health-related information in close relationships.  She presented over 20 papers at national and international conferences. Her publications appear in Communication Monographs, Human Communication Research, and the Journal of Family Theory and Review.

Dr. Winkler has professional experience in marketing, fundraising, brand management, public speaking, event planning, corporate communications, and human resources in nonprofit and for-profit organizations.


Ph.D. in Communication, University of Connecticut, December 2021
M.A. in Communication Studies, California State University, Sacramento, 2011
B.A. in Communication Studies, California State University, Sacramento, 2009

  • COMM 1304: Introduction to Communication Studies
  • COMM 2307: Intercultural Communication
  • COMM 2309: Interpersonal Communication
  • COMM 3310: Women, Men, and Communication
  • COMM 3313: Race, Ethnicity, and Communication
  • COMM 3314: Research in Communication Studies
  • COMM 3328: Communication and Intimacy​

Dr. Kara Winkler is an Assistant Professor in Communication Studies in the Department of Arts and Communication at the University of Houston-Downtown. She has a Ph.D. in Interpersonal Communication with a specialization in advanced research methods. Her research focuses on sexual communication, specifically on the cognitive, emotional, and communicative processes and outcomes of sharing sexual health-related information in close relationships. She is currently working on several projects related to communication and sexuality, including a test of the theory of motivated information management, an investigation of testosterone's role in benevolent sexism and rape myth acceptance, and a meta-analysis of sexual self-disclosures and sexual satisfac​tion. In earlier projects, she examined the effects of a sex-positive metaphor on sexual health behaviors and the effects of pillow talk on physiological stress responses to couples' difficult conversations. Kara has presented over 20 papers at national and international conferences and has published in top tier journals such as Human Communication Research and Communication Monographs.​


Selected Research Publications

Dhillon, A., Denes, A., Crowley, J. P, Ponivas, A. L. P., Winkler, K. L., & Bennett, M. (2020). Does testosterone influence young adult romantic partners’ accommodation during conversations about stressors? Human Communication Research, 46, 444-469. doi: 10.1093/hcr/hqaa008

Denes, A., Crowley, J. P., Winkler, K. L., Ponivas, A., Dhillon, A., & Bennett, M. (2020). Exploring the effect of pillow talk on physiological stress responses to couples’ difficult conversations. Communication Monographs, 87, 267-290. doi: 10.1080/03637751.2020.1726424​.

Denes, A., Ponivas, A., Winkler, K. L., & Dhillon, A. (2020). The hormonal underpinnings of sexual communication. In L. S. Aloia, A. Denes, & J. P. Crowley (Eds.), Oxford handbook of the physiology of interpersonal communication. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

Denes, A., Bennett, M., & Winkler, K. L. (2017). Exploring the benefits of affectionate communication: Implications for interpersonal acceptance-rejection theory. Journal of Family Theory & Review, 9, 491-506. doi: 10.1111/jftr.12218 

Denes, A., Speer, A. C., Dhillon, A., & Winkler, K. L. (2016). Future directions in post sex communication research: Exploring long-term relationships, aging, and physiology. In J. F. Nussbaum (Ed.), Communication across the lifespan: ICA theme book (pp. 63-78). New York, NY: Peter Lang.


Selected Conference Presentations

Winkler, K. L., & Denes, A. (2022, May). Emerging adult sexual health communication: A test of the theory of motivated information management. Interpersonal Communication Division. International Communication Association 72nd Annual Conference. Paris, France.

Winkler, K. L., Denes, A., Crowley, J. P., Bennett, M., Dhillon, A., & Ponivas, A. (2019, May). Exploring links between benevolent sexism, rape myth acceptance, and testosterone. Communication and Biology Division. International Communication Association 69th Annual Conference. Washington, D.C.

Winkler, K. L. (2018, November). A meta-analysis of sexual self-disclosure and sexual satisfaction. Interpersonal Communication Division. National Communication Association 104th Annual Convention. Salt Lake City, Utah.

Winkler, K. L. (2018, November). A review of the current state of sexual communication research. Interpersonal Communication Division. National Communication Association 104th Annual Convention. Salt Lake City, Utah.

Winkler, K. L. (2018, November). Effects of metaphor on attitudes toward sexuality. Scholar to Scholar. National Communication Association 104th Annual Convention. Salt Lake City, Utah.

Winkler, K. L. (2018, November). Interpersonal communication theory for positive sexuality: A case for communication privacy management theory from a multiple goals perspective. Interpersonal Communication Division. National Communication Association 104th Annual Convention. Salt Lake City, Utah.

Winkler, K. L. (2018, November). Managing sexual relationships during college: Effects of sexual communication self-efficacy and quality on relational and sexual satisfaction. Interpersonal Communication Division. National Communication Association 104th Annual Convention. Salt Lake City, Utah.

Denes, A., Crowley, J. P., Winkler, K. L., Ponivas, A., Dhillon, A., & Bennett, M. (2018, May). Exploring the effect of pillow talk on physiological stress responses to couples' difficult conversations. International Communication Association 68th Annual Conference. Prague, Czech Republic.


Winkler, K. L., & Dhillon, A. (2017, May). Toward an understanding of victim blaming: The role of need for cognition and ambivalent sexism in predicting attitudes towards sexuality and rape myth acceptance. International Communication Association 104th Annual Convention 2017. San Diego, CA.​


Winkler, K. L. (2016, November). Parent-adolescent communication about sexual topics. National Communication Association 102nd Annual Convention 2016. Philadelphia, PA.​



Last updated 4/25/2022 3:28 AM